Nitish should utilise his position as ‘kingmaker’ in NDA to ensure special status for Bihar: Tejashwi  

Special category status offers several benefits to designated states

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar should utilise his position as “kingmaker” in the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government to ensure special status for Bihar, RJD leader and former Bihar Deputy CM Tejashwi Yadav said on June 6.

On Wednesday, photos of Tejashwi sitting with Bihar chief minister Kumar on a flight to Delhi went viral on social media. Both NDA and INDIA partners flew to the national capital to hold meetings after the Lok Sabha Election results failed to give a majority to the BJP.

“NDA has numbers but we want the government which will be formed to take care of Bihar and ensure that it gets special status. It is a good opportunity for Nitish Kumar if he is the kingmaker, he should make sure that Bihar gets a special status and conduct caste-based census in the entire country,” Mr Yadav told news agency ANI, adding that for the first time, PM Modi’s “magic was finished” and he would be dependent on NDA allies to form a government.

The photo of the two leaders sparked a buzz of a likely INDIA reconciliation for Nitish Kumar who has a record of political flip-flops. Last year, Mr Kumar crisscrossed the country trying to gather support from opposition leaders to form a united bloc to take on the BJP-led NDA.

In one of the viral photos, Mr Yadav was seen sitting behind Mr Kumar on the flight. However, another set of photos clicked some time after, showed the former INDIA allies sitting next to each other, smiling. “We greeted each other, I was allotted the seat behind him but he saw me and called me to sit with him,” Mr Yadav said.

As per the results announced by the Election Commission of India, the BJP-led NDA secured 294 seats in the 543-member Parliament — 22 more than the majority mark of 272 while the INDIA Opposition bloc won 234 seats, falling short by 38 seats.

Now, TDP’s Chandrababu Naidu and JDU’s Nitish Kumar, both NDA allies, hold the key to the doors to power. While the two contested the general election in an alliance with the BJP, INDIA leaders are learnt to have reached out to them to convince them to join the Opposition bloc.

While Mr Naidu has pledged support to the NDA, Mr Kumar’s close aide and JDU leader KC Tyagi told news agency ANI that the party will stay with the BJP alliance.

What is Special Category Status?

Special Category Status is a classification provided by the Central government to support the development of states facing geographical and socio-economic challenges.

Which states have special status

Eleven states, including Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttarakhand, and Telangana, have been designated as special category states. Telangana, the most recent addition to India’s states, was granted this status upon its formation, stemming from its separation from Andhra Pradesh.

What are the benefit of ‘Special Category Status’

Special category status offers several benefits to designated states. Firstly, these states receive enhanced funding, with 90% of the funds required for centrally-sponsored schemes provided by the Centre, compared to 60% or 75% for other states. The remaining funds are contributed by the respective state governments.

Moreover, special category states can carry forward unused funds from one fiscal year to the next, ensuring efficient utilisation of resources. Additionally, these states enjoy tax concessions, including exemptions in excise and customs duties, as well as income tax and corporate tax. Lastly, special category states receive a higher allocation from the Centre’s Gross Budget, amounting to 30%, which provides substantial financial support for their development initiatives.

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